Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fresh start

This past two weeks have not been the nice and comfortable routine I've come to love.  The kids are off from school, I'm home with Zahra and the kids most of these last two weeks of the year.  I had been making plans to spend lots and lots of family time; just the four of us.  My world has become so sharply focused on the four of us lately.

The surprise of dad's heart condition changed those plans.  Family and friends descended upon him.  The circumstances weren't great, but a lifetime of connections were reestablished.  I saw familiar faces of those I see often and those I haven't seen for some time.  Even many faces that were new to me.  I was asked to pass on salaams from so many people; I even can't remember how many.

I was so pleased with the family response.  And with the support I got to be there; thanks Zahra:) It is tiring, but so much easier not being in it alone.  Alhamdolillah, dad has come through with flying colors and in a few weeks he'll feel like he has a new lease on life.

Last night, he came home after 11 nights in the hospital.  He came home to a full house of sons, daughters and grandkids.  Looking around and taking it in, dad took my hand and cried some tears of joy and told me how he's so happy and he wants our family to continue together for generations to come.  I absorbed what I can only guess is a fraction of the perspective he was sharing.  It was a beautiful moment.

It's sometimes challenging being an adult and having parents.  My dad did something right for a long time though.  I had this unconscious desire (probably instilled over a long time) to be around and help however I could.  Strong enough that I believe it's Zahra's desire too.  It's got me thinking about what I have to do to have the same thing many years from now.  I want to be able to look around years from now and be surrounded by my people.  Minus the heart surgery:P

At 74, dad is still teaching me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Let me fix that for you

I was drawing with Nooriya.  Mostly I was sitting with her and just spending time with her while trying to block out the rest of the world.  We do this all the time; it's awesome.  This time she had me draw a bird.  I did.  She proceeded to erase it completely and say to me, "let me fix that for you".  And then later she said, "you just sit there and I'll take care of it".

Then later Yusuf did something all by himself that I'm used to helping him with.  It's been happening over time, but today it hit me all of a sudden.  Yusuf and Nooriya aren't little anymore.  I know that'll be a ridiculous thing to read when I come back in years when they're actually big.

All of a sudden it was them trying to take care of me when I'm so used to trying to take care of them.  I gather I'll never stop trying.  I'm not sure what my point is, but I do want to write down this memory and come back to read this.

My family is somehow getting even better.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tortoise and the hare

I've heard this story many many times over the years. It's pretty simple and I've absorbed the message a little bit more every time. It's a nice reminder, but there's really nothing new. "Slow and steady wins the race". Pretty simple. 

I heard another telling recently that has given the story a deeper meaning  for me. The story continues after the race. The hare is in the hospital disgruntled and upset. He's just been diagnosed with cancer. The tortoise visits the hare in the hospital. Old friends talking about the race. The hare can't accept that he could be dying; he is a racer and just ran a race. Their conversation is great and it ends with the tortoise blowing the hare's mind letting him know "it was never a race".

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Close call

I had a very close call this morning. A possibly life ending moment. It's a couple hours later and my heart is still racing. 

The details are irrelevant now. I'm of two minds even writing this. I'd just as soon forget or pretend like it didn't really happen. 

I had a rare second-chance moment.  Everything important came into focus and everything else faded. I was jarred into realizing most of the stuff on my mind faded away. 

I'm sooooooo lucky to have a second chance. I'm pretty sure third chances are much more rare. I'll just come back and read this. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Awesomeness Factor

I've been reading up about positive illusions after hearing about it.  It basically means having a really good attitude about something....unreasonably so.  It's thinking that somethings are disproportionately above average.  I come across this at work all the time.  My math and economics background tell me to take this optimism with a grain of salt.  I am quick to discount when I hear rose-colored predictions at work.

Apparently, there's more to this.  Some psychology study concluded thinking someone is great is a predictor of a good relationship.  And this is a poem I want to come back and read

Love to faults is always blind,
Always is to joy inclin'd,
Lawless, wing'd, and unconfin'd,
And breaks all chains from every mind.
--William Blake

AND like some cool Yoda-mind-trick if you think something is awesome it will be even  more awesome.  That's kind of amazing at first, but then...duh.  All that's required is thinking something is awesome.

Zahra you're awesome and you'll somehow be awesome-er tomorrow.  Thank you and you're welcome:P

Friday, October 17, 2014

Giving Tree

I recently heard about a kids book called 'The Giving Tree'.  This is the Wikipidea entry.

Wiki describes the plot
---
The book follows the life of a female [apple] tree and a boy who are able to communicate with each other; the tree addresses the human as "Boy" his entire life. In his childhood, the boy enjoys playing with the tree, climbing her trunk, swinging from her branches, and eating her apples. However, as time passes he starts to make requests of the tree.
After entering adolescence, the boy wants money; the tree suggests that he pick and sell her apples,he does and sells them. After reaching adulthood, the boy wants a house; the tree suggests he cut her branches to build a house, which he does. After reaching middle age, the boy wants a boat; the tree suggests he cut her trunk to make a boat, which he does, leaving only a stump.
In the final pages, the boy (now a shriveled old man) wants only "a quiet place to sit and rest," which the stump provides. The story ends with the sentence "And the tree was happy."
---
The story can be interpreted many ways.  It can be interpreted simply as good or bad.  It can be interpreted as a metaphor for many things I think.

The story is simple in a way.  It reminds me that it's my decision to interpret this however I choose.  The story reminds me more generally that the way I see things is in my control.  

It's easy for me to see this as story between a parent and a child.  I think of Yusuf and Nooriya and how I get to be with them everyday.  I'm not in a hurry to skip forward, but I'm sure the story ends with me being happy...no matter what.  I plan to come back for this reminder over the years when it might not be so clear.

This post happens to coincide closely with Nooriya's birthday.  Five!  I remember when it was JUST four.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hurry up and slow down

Today I had an especially busy morning and I let myself get caught up in the busyness.  I rushed from here to there and back many times both physically and mentally.  It was exhausting, but I had some time planned to slow down and relax.  It's Friday and I had my class to relax just after lunch.

My morning continued to be busy and of course bled into lunch.  I had just enough time to shovel from food into my face so I could get down to relaxing.  I just needed to hurry up and eat.

It was mid-way through my lunch that I realized how ridiculous this was.  I was kind of stressing out about my relaxing time.  I still couldn't snap out of it, but at least I was self-aware.  I hope I can come back to this memory and snap out of it when I need to in the future.

I was doing today in a very small way what I don't ever want to do...I was just trying to get to [Fill in the blank].  I don't want to miss what's happening now because I'm waiting to get past some milestone or whatever.

I did make it to class on time:P.  The class wasn't as good as it would have been if I'd been a little more mellow to start with.  You get what you give:P